10 Best Moments of 2017, So Far

2017 has brought many things exciting for my family, and none of them are Trump-related. Although I strive to break free of the chains holding me in this house, I am trying to help myself look on the bright side as much as possible, so here are 10 good moments from 2016.

1. Star Wars Celebration Orlando. You open with a panel featuring Kathleen Kennedy, George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Warwick Davis, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and John Williams. You get to see thousands of fans in costume. You eat pizza. You get your picture with Mark Hamill. You get Star Wars Monopoly for a real steal. And you beat Star Wars authors at Star Wars Jeopardy. If that isn't the good life, I don't know what is.

2. Ask Me Another. If you don't know, Ask Me Another is an NPR hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia that I like to listen to. Their puzzles are genius and usually multi-step. I like the music parody games the best: "OK, we've rewritten "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to be about things that aren't high enough. Just kidding - we've rewritten it to be about real and fictional mountains."

3. Scrabble. I still play a lot - and I heard Scrabble added "Zqvjkzx" to their dictionary. Zqvjkzx is the Azerbaijani word for grape juice. No kidding.

4. Risk. Sure, Dad took over the world, but I lasted a while, and we all got to see the Seinfeld clip where Kramer and Newman are on the subway and are playing.

Kramer: The Ukraine is feeble. It's weak. I think it's time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.
Ukrainian standing nearby: Excuse me, I come from Ukraine. You not say Ukraine weak.
Kramer: We're just playing a game.
Ukrainian: Ukraine is game to you? How about if I take your little board and SMASH IT! (smashes board)

However, in actuality, the Ukraine is not a territory on the Risk board.

5. The Nutcracker vs. The Grinch. I have an enormous love for the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker, and have been working on my own version for a couple years (no kidding), but I recently discovered a very strange version. Assuming you know the story of the Nutcracker...in this version performed by a Montana ballet company, instead of fighting the Mouse King, the Nutcracker fights the Grinch. Yes, that Grinch. After becoming a prince, the Nutcracker and the little girl Clara help the Grinch's heart grow three sizes. Then the Grinch falls for the Sugar Plum Fairy in the second act and dances the big dance at the end with her. This is real.

P.S. The dancer who played the Grinch is from the Ukraine.

6. Zzyzx Road. I recently also learned there's an obscure desert road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas by the name of Zzyzx Road. Just an interesting piece of trivia that I wanted to share.

7. De Singin' Clam. Not to be confused with a poem I once wrote in which I wondered if my mother would still love me if I were a slimy clam. No, this is from the defunct Dora the Explorer television series on Nickelodeon. I found a bootleg episode online in which this clam pops up out of nowhere and sings a song. The clam sounds like Bob Marley and has bad grammar too, and is all-around racist. How did that innocent little show get away with this?

8. Poke me in the coconut. If you're on the Internet ever in your life, you've probably seen the Bad Lip Reading "Seagulls (Stop It Now)" video. The one with Yoda singing about the seagulls poking him in the head. So I got this brilliant idea of something to do when we go to the beach this summer. We tie a piece of bread to the head of my stuffed Yoda backpack. We bait real seagulls. They attack him. We take video and send it to Bad Lip Reading.

9. New kid on the street. Just go to my Sesame Street "Meet Julia" review to learn what I thought of this one.

10. Cherish the memories, love life today. And finally, a screenplay I wrote, "The Sun Shines in Heaven", tells the story of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting from a unique perspective. The screenplay link will be posted on the blog very soon.

Bonus: Beauty and the Beast.  Yup, I saw the live-action remake of a film I loved as a child. Much better than the original...though I didn't know Emma Watson could sing. Perhaps she could star in the Harry Potter musical...if there ever is one.